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The Southern African Development Community (SADC) is the first region in Africa to successfully develop a harmonized Regional Grading and Classification System for its red meat and live animal value chain. “If you have a regional scale that can be used to classify for instance, grade A of exotic, and grade A of indigenous breed, the prices will not be very diverse,” says Dr. Mary Mbole-Kariuki.


Mr. Oppong-Otoo, who coordinates the Standards and Trade Secretariat for Animal Health and Food Safety at AU-IBAR stresses that international standards ought to be developed with the institutional capacity needs and priorities of Africa in mind. This enables African countries to implement the Standards and participate effectively in international trade. "The philosophy is simple; If a country is actively involved in the development of standards, it becomes easier to implement them," states Oppong-Otoo.

Dr. Mbole-Kariuki, who leads technology innovation and skills development at Live2Africa agrees, adding that, “When we talk of African Free Trade, it is because some things are not equal, they are not harmonized.”


The livestock Sector is critical for Africa's goal to eradicate hunger and malnutrition, and improve intra- and inter-continental trade. The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2022 by FAO, IFAD, UNICEF, WFP and WHO indicates that 278 million people in Africa suffer from chronic hunger. The high protein content of animals is critical for African countries to meet their nutritional needs. To optimize its potential, Africa has to invest in standardization of the livestock sector, and build the capacities of African nations to comply with the standards. “Standards are the currency for trade,” asserts John Oppong-Otoo, a food safety expert at AU-IBAR.  

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 “We are no longer spectators,” quips John Oppong-Otoo, a Food Safety Expert at the African Union – Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR). He is also the technical lead responsible for implementing one of the seven project result areas at the Live2Africa Project. Africa can now speak with one voice,” he asserts, citing the Project’s ability to influence political participation of Member States on animal health matters, as one of its most significant achievements.

According to Oppong-Otoo, the Agreement on the application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures provides that countries must work together to align their respective measures on animal diseases, yet there were many instances where international standards were developed without taking into account the institutional capacity needs of Africa. Member States of the Africa Union are signatory to the World Trade Organization(WTO), which enforces the Agreement.  


“Our collective voice is stronger, and we now have a seat at the global table, improving the quality of Africa’s participation in the work of international standard setting organizations,” he remarks. The gains have been hard won. As Project lead, Oppong-Otoo coordinated Member States, by organizing meetings to solicit their inputs and comments. This culminated in an African position which was presented at the International Negotiation Forum.

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World Meteorological Organization is warning that Africa is extremely vulnerable to climate change.

By Judith Akolo

The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) has warned that Climate change continues to strike Africa with extreme weather events. The WMO Secretary-General, Professor Petteri Taalas in a statement says the devastating drought in the greater horn of Africa, including parts of Kenya, Ethiopia, Sudan, and Somalia is manifestation of the impacts of climate change.

“More than 13 million people are facing severe food insecurity in the horn of Africa and the health of 6 million children from these countries is affected by malnutrition,” said Prof. Taalas who spoke during the conference of heads of National Meteorological and Hydrological (NMHSs) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, says the failure of five rainfall seasons has had devastating effects of crops and this could impact the harvests.

Prof. Taalas told the meeting attended by Heads of National and Meteorological and hydrological Services, regional and global experts in weather, climate and water services with decision-makers in Africa that more than 3 million livestock supporting the livelihoods of pastoral communities have died in the Region.

He told the meeting that is discussing the need for enhancing digital transformation of the Hydro-Meteorological Services in the Region that digital transformation of the NMHSs “will make accessing severe weather warnings and alerts easy,” he said and added that, “Technology transformation will strengthen and modernize NMHSs to perform their public weather functions for the safety of lives and property.”

The Secretary-General noted that the digital transformation of the Meteorological services in Africa will help fasten data transmission speed “and increase the ability to create products and services for realtime, exchange of information, critical for forecasting and warnings of hydro-Meteorological hazards, so as to warn the public and enhance safety.”

In his remarks, the Ethiopian State Minister for Water and Energy, Dr Abraha Adugna, noted that the frequency and intensity of hazards on the continent is significant adding that the impacts are having pressure in socioeconomic sectors.

Dr. Adugna said that the Ethiopia government in partnership with the Ethiopian Meteorological Institute (EMI) has established a modernized network for collecting meteorological data for early warning services in a bid to improve lives and livelihood.


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Biennial Review reports enhancing agriculture transformation and development in Africa

By Judith Akolo

The African Union Commission (AUC) developed a roadmap for the fourth Biennial Review cycle.

The Director of Agriculture and Rural Development at the AUC Dr. Godfrey Bahiigwa says for the continent to realize the envisaged growth in the agriculture sector there is need to critically analyse the previous three Biennial Review cycles.

Speaking when he opened a four-day Training of Trainers meeting on the revised Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP), Biennial Review reporting tools at a Nairobi hotel, Dr. Bahiigwa said that a re-examination of the “difficulties and issues encountered in the coordination of the Biennial Review process, data collection and quality, a review of the new indicators to be added, updating of the Biennial Review reporting tools and the e-BR,” was important as it has now enabled the directorate have a clear direction on how the Biennial Review cycles can be enhanced in order to realise the envisioned goals.

He noted that the Biennial Review Report is a fundamental instrument that shows outcomes of different agricultural efforts and interventions on the continent. “It enables countries to track, measure and report progress achieved against agreed result areas,” said Dr. Bahiigwa.

The Director said that the critical analysis that was conducted was aimed at addressing the challenges “and thereby improve the next BR cycle,” he said and added that, “Before the commencement of the critical analysis, we made sure that the process was inclusive and owned by all our stakeholders.”

Dr. Bahiigwa noted that the addition of ninth technical working group on communication and advocacy on the Biennial Review process will help to enhance an understanding and knowledge on the process itself and how it can be of benefit to the member states.

“The BR process is a learning process and obtaining quality data has remained a top priority,” he said and called for an improvement in communication and advocacy of the overall Biennial Review process. “During this training, assigned experts will provide sessions not only on indicator profiles but also on data quality and on communication and advocacy, to better inform,” he said. 

He told the meeting of Trainer of Trainers drawn from all the regional economic communities on the continent that they will be expected to support the BR process in their Regions and also provide training to member states in order to enable them to carry out the fourth Biennial Review exercise.

Among the areas being addressed in the CAADP Biennial Review and which arise from the Malabo Declaration on Agriculture Transformation include; Halving poverty through agriculture by 2025; Ending Hunger by 2025; Enhancing Investment Finance in Agriculture; Boosting Intra-Africa Trade in Agriculture Commodities and Services; Enhancing Resilience to Climate Variability; Enhancing Mutual Accountability for Actions and Results and Recommitment to the Principles and Values of the CAADP Process.


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